My relatives from the USA recently paid me visit. Siblings Ginny, Kathy & Jim along with Ginny’s husband David were interested to learn more about their Scottish ancestry.
Our common ancestors are James & Annie Cunningham Nee Weir of Normangill Farm in Crawford Parish, Lanarkshire. James & Annie were married in 1860 at Ponfeigh in Carmichael Parish, Lanarkshire and had 10 children, six sons and four daughters. Ginny, Kathy & Jim are descended from the fourth child (third son) Robert and I’m descended from the ninth child (fifth son) James.
Over the years we have communicated firstly by letter then latterly by email where we have swapped photos, family news and ancestral research. Ginny & David had previously visited Scotland in 1983 and Jim in 1969, this was Kathy’s first visit.
Having researched my Cunningham ancestry and located all of the family headstones, I took my cousins on an ancestral tour. We visited Eddleston, Tweedsmuir, Kirkton (Crawford), Crawfordjohn & Carmichael Churchyards where my cousins could visit their ancestors’ final resting places for the first time. James & Annie along with their youngest daughter Jeanie and two daughters-in-law are buried at Kirkton in Crawford Parish.
We paid a very poignant visit to Normangill Farm where James & Annie raised their family – we were grateful to Mr Craig, the farmer, who kindly told us about the history of the farm and parish. Afterwards we drove us the Camp Valley, land that would have been familiar to our ancestors.
I have in my possession two family photographs taken in 1894 at Normangill Farm – this was dated by the two babies that appear in the group. The photographs were taken during Robert’s visit home from California – this would be the last time that the family would be together as earlier the following year the second daughter (fifth child) Elizabeth married and emigrated to Canada.
We rounded the day off with a lovely meal at Asti in Edinburgh to celebrate the family reunion and Kathy’s birthday.
More photographs of the Cunnigham Ancestral Tour can be found on Borders Journeys’ Facebook.
Earlier this year I published an article Headstone Mystery is Solved which is about the family of James & Annie’s eldest son David and his family.
Where do you come from? What stories lie in your family history? Have you ever wondered? Maybe you’ve hit a dead end in your research or just don’t know where to start.
Simply tell me what you know so far and I will not only give you research advice but investigate your Scottish ancestry on your behalf. I will research your family history by connecting the dots to form a real picture of who and where you come from.
Do you want to walk in the footsteps of your ancestors?
I will design a tailor-made ancestral tour especially for you, taking you on a journey of discovery where you’ll connect with your Scottish ancestors by walking in their footsteps. Your ancestors will be brought to life when you learn about the people, places and traditions connected with them. By the end of the tour you will have gained a real insight into your ancestral heritage and where you came from, something you can share with present and future generations.
I recognise that for many of you this may be a once in a lifetime opportunity, my emphasis is upon making your time in Scotland an experience you’ll always remember.